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HomePoliticsPolitics-Update From Doug Shipley,

Politics-Update From Doug Shipley,

Politics-Update From Doug Shipley,

Springwater Library’s Summer Reading Program Out of This World – By: Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Source: BarrieToday.com

May 31, 2024

They’re simply adorable.

The monkey, the panda and the owl. A hoot!

The lion, the dino and the cow. Utterly irresistible!

They’re desk pets and every child who signs up for the summer reading program at the Springwater Public Library (SPL) will get one.

“Our big summer program is the TD Summer Reading Program,” said Amanda Hodgkinson, children and youth librarian at SPL. “Children sign up to the Readsquared app, track how many minutes that they are reading, and they get prizes based upon how much they read.

“When kids sign up, they will get a desk pet as encouragement to start their summer reading,” she added.

The theme of the TD Summer Reading program this year is “Out of this World!”

Registration starts June 3.

As well as getting a desk pet, children will have a chance to win prizes from community partners, such as the Vespra Lions Club, the Elmvale Lioness Club, Linda’s Ice Cream Hut, Midhurst and Elmvale Pharmasave and Circle K.

To highlight the reading program, in addition to the online component, SPL will have weekly, in-branch programs with activities, crafts and games.

Every year, SPL staff are challenged to create something they’ve never done before.

“New this year we will have a coding club as well as an escape room and weekly crafts,” Hodgkinson noted.

For those who like solving puzzles, cracking codes, and searching for clues, the escape room could be right for you. You’ll have the opportunity to unlock your inner detective by trying out the pirate-themed escape room. A great group activity for families and friends, the escape room is suitable for children ages six and up.

“Participants decorate the sidewalks around the library branches to kick off our summer reading in a bright and colourful way,” she said.

Having won the national TD Summer Reading Program award for best summer reading program in 2022 for their hybrid programming, expectations are high for the SPL.

More information about summer programs at SPL, as well as registration details, can be found on the website  www.springwaterlibrary.ca

 

Springwater Public Library Workers Vote to Join CUPE – Submitted by  Kevin Taghabon, CUPE Communications

May 30, 2024 – SPRINGWATER, ON  Library workers in the Springwater Public Library system have voted unanimously to become the newest members of CUPE after a successful organizing drive. The three branches in Elmvale, Midhurst, and Minesing, Ontario will be joining CUPE Local 2380.

Public library workers at three branches in Springwater, Ontario. (Photo credit: Ginger Tsang)

“With an uncertain landscape combined with a lack of support from stakeholders, staff voted unanimously to unionize with CUPE,” said library technician Elenna Stengel.

The united workers at the three branches have strong connections with their communities and take pride in the essential services the provide. One of their primary concerns is ensuring job security in their workplaces.

“Some of our staff have been serving our community for decades,” said Stengel. “We are committed to offering the amazing services we always have to help our community continue to grow and thrive.”

CUPE represents workers at over 60 public library systems across Ontario.

 

‘I do not blame them’: Springwater Library Staff Unionize in Response to Council – By: Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Source: BarrieToday.com

May 30, 2024 – Employees at Springwater Township’s public library are joining a union, a move they say was precipitated by the treatment they received from the local council.

According to a news release issued late Wednesday afternoon (May 29) by Adrian Graham, chair of the Springwater Public Library, library employees have voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in response to recent interactions with township council.

Notification of the intent to join, and the outcome of the vote, held earlier this week, were shared with Jodie Delgado, chief executive officer of the Springwater Public Library, as well as members of the board.

All 13 staff members are included. The library’s CEO is not.

“We respect the rights of library staff to investigate and subsequently join a union as this process is part of their rights under Canadian labour law,” Graham stated in the release.

“We would like to thank staff for letting us know the decision to join the union was not taken in response to any actions from the CEO or the board, but rather from the recent discussions and actions taken by the Springwater Township council,” Graham added.

Delgado says she supports staff’s right to unionize and doesn’t foresee any issues that would impact the public.

“As for our programs and services, there will be no change,” she said. “Springwater Public Library staff are creative and dedicated to serving the community and we will all work together to ensure that the customer service and welcoming atmosphere that we are known for continues.”

CUPE’s lawyer, Dave Steele, said the library workers’ vote to join CUPE was “unanimous.”

Springwater Mayor Jennifer Coughlin saw this coming last year and tried to warn council, but to no avail.

At the Dec. 6, 2023 council meeting, prior to approving the 2024 budget, Coughlin predicted the future to a tee.

“This budget, in my opinion, reflects antiquated ideals, welcomes a union and encourages our talent to seek employment elsewhere,” she said at the time.

Coun. Brad Thompson, who is council’s representative on the library board, said he was disappointed with the decision by staff to unionize, but added he fully supports their direction.

“My hope was not to have created a need for a union in our library,” he wrote in an email to BarrieToday. “The obvious negative impact on taxpayers is that it is likely going to cost us more to provide the same level of service.”

The Ward 3 councillor said the unionization has already cost taxpayers money in legal expenses, as the library has had to hire a legal team to assist with the transition.

“Collective bargaining is likely to add more to the budget as I know that staff was not happy with the reduced (cost of living allowance) council voted in,” said Thompson, adding they had asked for 2.5 per cent increase, but council approved a two per cent hike.

Thompson said he assumes library staff will also be looking for improved working conditions, as the Elmvale branch has a roof and basement that leak, as well as lights that don’t work.

“Given how they have been treated and their jobs threatened, I do not blame them for voting in favour of a union,” Thompson said.

The Springwater Public Library has come under attack by various members of council since this council was elected in 2022.

Coun. Phil Fisher, in particular, has had ongoing issues with the library. They came to head at the Nov. 1, 2023 council meeting, when he floated the idea of contracting out library services.

With few details and no context for the request, Fisher’s comment, at the time, cranked up the innuendo and speculation among residents.

Some thought Fisher was calling for a closure of the township’s library, which he wasn’t, while others applauded his concern for taxpayers’ money.

His motion never materialized, leaving many in the community wondering about the library’s fate.

Thompson made an attempt to get Fisher to update the status of his motion at the Jan. 17 council meeting, but was prevented from asking the question when it was challenged on a point of order by Coun. Anita Moore.

At the Feb. 21 council meeting, Mayor Coughlin advised council that the point of order that she upheld at that meeting was, in fact, not in contravention and invited Thompson to ask Fisher his question.

Thompson asked: “Where do you currently stand on your motion to get information on contracting out our library services?”

“It’s not that I have it in for the library,” Fisher said at the time. “I just have to say, the board and the fiscal management is well, it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

At the March 20 council meeting, the library board made a presentation that detailed their responsibilities, reporting process and status as an independent entity, not an arm of the township’s bureaucracy.

Fisher mined familiar ground following the presentation.

“My problem doesn’t lie with the library; my problem lies with the fact that we, as a council, are not allowed, seemingly, to question the finances behind the library,” he said at the March 20 meeting. “Whether it’s $5,000 or $50,000, it has to be accounted for. I always feel when myself or another member of council questions the budget or questions things that surround the library, it feels like we’re told we’re not allowed to ask.

“Yes, you are separate, but you still come to us for the budget,” Fisher added.

According to Graham’s release, there will be no change in the way services and programs are offered at the three Springwater library branches as the library works through the process moving forward.

“Patrons can still expect the high level of customer services, programs and other services,” Graham said.

The Springwater Public Library has 13 permanent staff, not including the CEO. Its three branches are located in Elmvale, Midhurst and Minesing.

 

Future Provincially Led Facilitation Process Regarding Proposed Boundary Adjustments and Cross-Border Servicing – Submitted by Township of Springwater

May 24, 2024 – Springwater Council met in closed session on Thursday, May 23 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss and review the May 15, 2024, report to Council titled ‘Potential Future Options and Areas for Growth and Economic Viability within the Township of Springwater’. The purpose of the meeting was to consider, review and formulate strategies and responses regarding the City of Barrie Boundary Adjustment Proposal and future development of the Township of Springwater, in order to prepare the Township’s position for a potential Provincial Facilitator.

Following the Closed portion of the meeting, Springwater Council passed the following resolution:

“That Council now having had the opportunity to further review and consider information related to the proposed boundary adjustments and cross-border servicing with the City of Barrie; hereby direct the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer to participate in any future provincially led facilitation process on the matter should a Provincial Land and Development Facilitator be appointed.”

The Township of Springwater will continue to communicate updates, where possible, as further information becomes available.

 

Ombudsman Finds No Foul in Springwater Council’s Closed Meeting – By: Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Source: BarrieToday.com

June 3, 2024 – The Ombudsman of Ontario has concluded Springwater Township council did nothing wrong when it held a closed-session meeting on May 3, 2023.

According to the report, which will be presented to council on Wednesday during its meeting, provincial ombudsman Paul Dubé received complaints alleging that council’s discussion of a rainbow crosswalk project, the hiring process for an economic development assistant and an employment matter related to the Springwater Public Library in closed session was contrary to the rules around open meetings.

“My investigation determined that council for the Township of Springwater did not contravene the open meeting rules on May 3, 2023 when it met in closed session to discuss a rainbow crosswalk project and an item related to employment matters at the Springwater Public Library,” Dubé wrote in his report.

“Council also did not contravene the Municipal Act, 2001 when it discussed the hiring process for an economic development assistant position,” he added. “While no part of the discussion fit within the cited exception for labour relations or employee negotiations, the portion of the discussion that referred to personal information about a specific employee fit within the exception for personal matters.

“As the remaining portion of the discussion could not have been parsed, the entire discussion fit within the ‘personal matters’ exception.”

Seven months ago, on Oct. 31 of last year, the ombudsman’s office informed the township of its intent to investigate the complaints.

Members of the ombudsman’s office reviewed the recordings, agendas and minutes of both the open and closed sessions, an email petitioning for the special meeting, as well as relevant past minutes and reports.

The ombudsman noted it conducted interviews with the mayor and clerk, and received full co-operation during the investigation.

According to the report, council met for the special council meeting in council chambers at 3 p.m. on May 3, 2023.

The meeting was called by petition of four members of council — Deputy Mayor George Cabral and Councillors Anita Moore, Danielle Alexander and Phil Fisher — and identified three topics for discussion: the economic development assistant position, a drag-queen story time and a rainbow sidewalk project.

The agenda from the open session indicated, as requested by petition, that council would discuss a rainbow crosswalk project and a drag story-time event hosted by the Springwater Public Library in open session, before discussing three items in closed session.

In open session, council talked about perceived irregularities related to a rainbow crosswalk project, including different understandings of what financial responsibility a local high school would have.

“In this case, some council members raised concerns about the high school representative’s previous communications with council in connection with the rainbow crosswalk project that had been discussed in open session,” Dubé wrote. “While the representative had interacted with council in a professional capacity, council scrutinized this individual’s personal conduct.

“Accordingly, the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual applied,” he added.

Although the resolution also cited the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations for this topic, the township clerk told the ombudsman that this was an error.

Since the high school representative was not an employee of the township, the “labour relations or employee negotiations” exception did not apply.

Council then discussed an event arranged by the Springwater Public Library, which was the drag story time.

Council members shared their views on this type of event and library story times more generally. Council discussed the event’s funding and venue. After some discussion, council passed a resolution stating council supported the event.

At 4:26 p.m., council passed a resolution to proceed into closed session with the following description:

A personal matter about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees;

Labour relations or employee negotiations.

Topics included:

Employment matters — Springwater Public Library (identifiable individual)

Hiring — economic development assistant (labour relations or employee negotiations)

Rainbow crosswalk project — irregularities (identifiable individual and labour relations and employee negotiations).

At 4:44 p.m., council recessed from closed session for its regularly scheduled council meeting.

It returned to closed following the end of that meeting.

Council then discussed the economic development assistant item.

Council’s resolution cited the exception for labour relations or employee negotiations under the Municipal Act to discuss the hiring process for the economic development assistant position.

“In this case, council’s discussion focused on concerns about how the economic development assistant position was filled, and how the township should generally approach co-op positions and partnerships with post-secondary institutions,” Dubé wrote.

“Council did not specifically discuss its relationship to the particular employee selected for the role, and references to the position’s pay and duties were incidental to questions about changes to the position that had been made before the position was filled,” he added.

Accordingly, the “labour relations or employee negotiations” exception did not apply.

Although it wasn’t cited in council’s resolution to proceed into closed session, the ombudsman also considered whether the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual could have applied to any portions of council’s discussion about the economic development assistant position.

“Both the mayor and the clerk indicated that this exception might have applied to some portions of the discussion,” Dubé wrote.

Council also relied on the “personal matters” exception of the Municipal Act to discuss an employment matter related to the Springwater Public Library concerning a specific individual.

During the discussion, some council members raised concerns about the conduct of an employee at the Springwater Public Library, in connection to the drag story-time event discussed in open session, stated the ombudsman’s report. As this amounted to scrutiny of the individual’s conduct, the portions of the discussion about the individual’s conduct fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual.

“However, on several occasions, council’s discussion moved beyond this topic,” Dubé said. “For instance, there were questions and comments about library board minutes, the merits of drag performances, and whether council could dissolve the library board.

“In response to these digressions, the clerk, the mayor and a councillor interrupted the discussion to raise concerns and provide reminders about staying on topic,” he added. “These interventions triggered some procedural discussions as well.”

According to Dubé, timely interventions by staff and some members of council kept the digressions brief.

Dubé said they arose incidentally to the main discussion about scrutinizing the individual’s conduct.

“Accordingly, the discussion as a whole fit within the exception for personal matters about an identifiable individual,” he added. “However, I encourage all members of council to be vigilant in keeping discussions focused on the topic cited in the resolution to proceed into closed session.”

 

Update of Doug Shipley, MP Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte – Dear Neighbours,

Recently, I was proud to introduce my Private Member’s Bill C-389 in the House of Commons. My bill seeks to eliminate the application of the GST or HST from the sale of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs).

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, approximately 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are happening in Canada each year – that is one every nine minutes.

The availability of defibrillators in public buildings such as hockey arenas, libraries, and airports has the potential to save thousands of lives. I believe that we should be doing everything we can to get these lifesaving devices in as many places as possible.

With each passing minute of cardiac arrest, the probability of survival declines by up to 10%. Defibrillation improves survival rates significantly if delivered in the first few minutes. AEDs combined with CPR increases survival rates to 50% or more.

We know that rural, remote, and isolated communities have greater difficulties accessing emergency and other medical services for cardiac arrest response and AEDs can be few and far between. This legislation will greatly improve the ability for individuals living in rural communities, such as ours, to purchase an AED for their home, farm, or cottage, who currently do not have access to an AED nearby.

I hope you will join me in supporting my Private Member’s Bill C-389. Please tell your friends and family who live outside of our community to get in touch with their Member of Parliament and ask them to support Bill C-389.

As always, my constituency office is available to assist you with any matters related to the federal government. Please contact my office at Doug.Shipley@parl.gc.ca or 705-728-2596 for assistance.

Sincerely,

Doug Shipley

Member of Parliament

Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte

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